The Under-19 World Cup is considered to be a stepping stone to international cricket. Players with extraordinary abilities are identified at a very young age and are given opportunities to prove their mettle in the U19 World Cup.
Good performances in the tournament put these players in reckoning for a place in the national side. The likes of Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson, who represented India and New Zealand in U19 World Cups respectively, have been simply brilliant in international cricket and are now leading their countries in the World Cup.
Every U19 cricketer aspires to play the World Cup but only a few get that opportunity. Out of these players who have played both in the U19 World Cup and also ODI World Cup, there are some players who, after representing their country in the U19 World Cup together, are now teammates in the ongoing 201 World Cup.
Here is a look at star players who have played both in the U19 World Cup and are featuring in the World Cup 2019 together.
#5 David Warner, Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja
Australia's top three in the ongoing World Cup 2019 started playing junior level cricket together. David Warner, Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja played for Australia U19 in the 2006 Under 19 World Cup under the captaincy of Moises Henriques.
The Australian U19 squad did well to reach the semi-finals of the tournament but lost to the eventual winners Pakistan. Since then, the three had contrasting starts to their international careers.
While David Warner was an instant hit, Usman Khawaja had his struggles in the initial part of his career. Aaron Finch also had to score big runs in domestic cricket to cement a place in the Australian ODI side.
Currently, Finch is leading the Australian side in World Cup 2019.
Also read – Man of the match world cup 2019
#4 Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Tamim Iqbal
Bangladesh was once considered to be the minnows of World cricket. But the team has taken rapid strides in international cricket and one of the major reasons for this meteoric rise is the trio of Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim Iqbal.
The three have played around 1000 international games for Bangladesh in the last 13 years and have been instrumental in their team's success. Many of us don't know that Shakib, Mushfiqur and Tamim were teammates in the 2006 Under-19 World Cup too.
Mushfiqur Rahim was the captain of the side that lost to the Moeen Ali led England U19 side in the quarter-final. Shakib, Mushfiqur and Tamim were part of the Bangladesh team that stunned the Indian team in the 2007 World Cup.
Incidentally, all the three struck half-centuries in that match. Shakib, Mushfiqur and Tamim have been integral parts of Bangladesh cricket since then.
#3 Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Tim Southee
Interestingly all the three played in the U19 World Cup in the same edition in the year 2008. Tim Southee had previously played in the 2006 Under-19 World Cup and had already made his international debut before the start of the tournament.
Kane Williamson led the young Black Caps side that did well enough to reach the semi-finals. The team came up against the strong Indian side that was led by the current Indian skipper Virat Kohli in the semi-final.
Tim Southee took 4 wickets in the match but couldn't prevent India from winning a rain-curtailed game by 3 wickets. Williamson, Southee and Boult are center to New Zealand's plans in the quest of their maiden World Cup title this year.
#2 Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja
As many as seven players in India's 2019 World Cup Squad have played in U19 World Cup. However, only two of these seven players have won the U19 World Cup.
Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja were captain and vice-captain of the highly talented India U19 squad that went on to lift the trophy in 2008. While Ravindra Jadeja represented the India U19 in 2006 as well where Rohit Sharma was his teammate, it was a debut U19 World Cup for Virat Kohli.
After some thrilling contests in the semi-final and final, India clinched the title. While Kohli was fastracked in the national side making his international debut in the same year, Jadeja made it to the side in 2009.
While Jadeja has had a lot of ups and downs in his career, Kohli has grown from strength to strength and is currently one of the best batsman in world cricket.
#1 Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, James Vince
After a dismal performance in the 2015 World Cup in Australia, England has changed the way they play cricket. They put their money on young dynamic cricketers and are now reaping rewards for that.
Talking about Stokes, Root and Buttler, very few people know that these players played for England U19 together in the Under-19 World Cup in 2010. Another member of the current England World Cup squad, James Vince, was also part of the same squad.
The England U19 side defeated defending champions India, to top the group before getting knocked out by West Indies in the quarter-final. England might not have won the U19 World Cup that year, but it produced some of the biggest future stars of World cricket.